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Resistant Starch

What is the difference between resistance starch and dietary fibre?

Resistant starch is just ONE of the elements that comprise dietary fibre. Dietary fibre is all the components of plant food that pass through the stomach and small intestine undigested. As such it is not one single element but a number of substances – largely carbohydrate in nature – all reaching the large bowel undigested where they are subject to varying degrees of breakdown by bacteria. These components non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), lignin and resistant starch.

Many studies in humans show that resistant starch can have powerful health benefits.

This includes improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite and various benefits for digestion (1).

Resistant starch is actually a very popular topic these days. In the past few months, hundreds of people have experimented with it and seen major improvements by adding it to their diet.


There Are 4 Different Types of Resistant Starch (RS)

Type 1. is found in grains, seeds and legumes and resists digestion because it is bound within the fibrous cell walls where the granules of starch are physically inaccessible, preventing access by digestive enzymes to the starch..

Type 2. Starch with a high amylose content, which is indigestible in the raw state.  This is found in potatoes, green (unripe) bananas, and plantains some legumes.  Cooking these foods causes changes in the starch making it digestible to us, and removing the resistant starch.

Type 3. Also called retrograde RS since this type of RS forms after Type 1 or Type 2 RS is cooked and then cooled. It includes potatoes, bread and rice, are cooked and then cooled (soaked or sprouted) legumes. The cooking or processing has altered the crystalline form of starch . The cooling turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starches via a process called (retrograded) and rendered it unable to be digested by human enzymes. These cooked and cooled foods can be reheated at low temperatures, less than 50 degrees C and maintain the benefits of RS (6).  Heating at higher temperatures will again convert the starch into a form that is digestible to us rather than “feeding” our gut bacteria.

Type 4. These are man-made and formed via a chemical process. These processes are chemically modified starches and are used to thicken and set foods. Unlike natural starch, modified starch is less likely to breakdown during processing and storage and has a lower temperature at which it thickens. The food can therefore be cooked at a lower temperature so retaining important nutrients.

The classification is not that simple, though, as several different types of resistant starch can co-exist in the same food.